Tuesday, 22 March 2011

22nd March - ...and not a bad afternoon either!!!

Photo of the Day
Machaton lioness and cub
Afternoon Drive
(Chad and Grant)
7 x lions (Machaton Pride – 2 lionesses and 5 2-month old cubs) – Kings, Raintree Plains
3 x lions (Mahlathini male lions) – Peru, Long Rd
1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr Female) – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam
1 x leopard (Thumbela Female) – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Access
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Entrance Dam
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x buffalo bull – Vielmetter, Western Cutline
1 x buffalo bull – Peru, Long Rd

Daily Synopsis
After a morning like we had, I sort of wondered if it was worth going out, as anything else would be a disappointment...I was wrong!
I had planned to spend a quiet afternoon in the east looking at herds of buffalo and elephant, and maybe a rhino or two if I was lucky, so I missioned off that way despite the rain falling a bit further east.  Sadly though, I hit the east on one of its “off-days”, and soon realised that I was unlikely to see any of the animals I had planned to see...well, that and I had heard that the Machaton lions were out with their five small cubs!
After checking part of the east and coming up empty handed, I decided to head back to the central area and take things from there...wise choice.
Grant had headed down south, and after finding a breeding herd of buffalo at Hide Dam, went to go and see another breeding herd of buffalo at Entrance Dam.  The same buffalo that had almost got Thumbela this morning.  The same buffalo that Thumbela was again stalking this afternoon.  The same buffalo that yet again chased her up a tree while Marka and his Java guests were watching!!!  When Grant arrived, he got to see Rockfig Jnr resting at Entrance Dam, and then moved on to view Thumbela not too far off, but she had climbed out of the tree and was wandering around again now that the buffalo had left.  Clearly she didn’t learn anything this morning!!!
I decided not to go there straight away, but managed to hook myself up with a very kind invitation from Kings to go and see the Machaton Pride on Raintree Plains.  I haven’t seen small lion cubs in the Timbavati for three years (last being the Voel Dam Pride’s cubs in March 2008 – although I did see the Machaton’s litter in 2009, they were a bit older), so I was super keen to get to see them, especially after Grant’s pictures from the other day!
When I arrived, let’s just say I was in heaven!  I could not have asked for a better setting, or better light, so I will let the following pictures speak for themselves!


New Machaton Cubs - photographic bliss!!!
After that magic sighting, I headed back north and stopped for a sundowner, only to be joined by a herd of buffalos that grazed past us about 80m away.  Leaving them, we came across Thumbela female leopard half chasing after a hyena before turning her attention back to looking for mom, and after a short while we left her to continue her search in peace.
I decided to go and check to see if I could get lucky with the male lions near Lover’s Leap, and indeed I did when I found them lying in the road on the eastern side of Sohebele Dam.  Grant joined me, but they were not overly active and spent most of the time yawning and sleeping.  Disappointingly I didn’t find a leopard sleeping on Argyle Dam wall, but I think considering everything else my guests saw today, I can be forgiven!
Grant commented on what a fantastic day he had had – not only amazing Big 5 sightings, but also a lot of general game to fill in the gaps – kudu, waterbuck, zebra, wildebeest, nice herd of giraffe, a tiny baby hippo and it’s mother outside the water, plenty impala, bushbuck, steenbok and duiker...it was just a perfect day at Motswari!
I can’t wait to see what the Timbavati has in store for us tomorrow – I just pray we didn’t use up all of our luck today!!!


  1. This must be one of these days!! Superb these cubs and the encouter with the leopard and the buffalo`s. Beautifull photo´s. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to tomorrow.

  2. Great photos in great light Chad.
    What a great day, that is what I love about the bush. It is so unpredictable!!!

    Man, you just need the wild dogs to make a return to cap it off :-)


  3. These pictures are so touching!
    Thank you for sharing them and congratulation.
    Your pictures are truly amazing.